Vol. 99 No. 1
SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND ADAPTATION DAYS EVENT
The “Development and Adaptation Days at COP-10” event took place at the Castelar Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 11-12 December 2004. The event was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in collaboration with the Regional and International Networking Group (RING), a global alliance of research and policy organizations. Taking place alongside the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Development and Adaptation Days event was convened to raise the profile of adaptation and its linkages with development concerns, with a particular focus on the effects of climate change on the world’s poor – the group that will be most affected by its impacts. Recognizing that issues of poverty, development and climate change are connected, the event featured more than 40 speakers on these issues, as well as extended discussions and question-and-answer sessions. Approximately 100 people attended the two-day meeting, including representatives of governments, international and intergovernmental organizations, academia, research institutes, business, and non-governmental organizations.
On the first day of the meeting, designated “Development Day,” sessions were held on climate change and development, food security and disaster planning, and water and health. The second day, “Adaptation Day,” included presentations and discussions on the science of adaptation, funding adaptation, and adaptation in action.
The event provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions on adaptation and development, bringing together the climate change and development communities and providing a catalyst for further networking and progress on this subject.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
In recent years, adaptation to climate change has become a key focus of the scientific and policy-making communities. While mitigation has traditionally been the pivotal issue on many experts’ agendas, there has been an acknowledgment that adaptation is also an important component in responding effectively and equitably to the problem. The UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol contain a number of references to adaptation, including UNFCCC Articles 4.1 (e) (cooperation in preparing for adaptation), and 4.4 (developed country Party assistance to vulnerable developing countries in meeting adaptation costs).
Such adaptation issues are now a major area of discussion in the multilateral climate change process. Particular initiatives in recent years include agreement at COP-7 in 2001 on the establishment of three funds under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) that are relevant to adaptation in developing countries: a special climate change fund, a least developed countries (LDCs) fund, and an adaptation fund. There has also been work on national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) for LDCs, and the UN Development Programme’s national adaptation policy framework. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also increased its focus on adaptation issues.
At the same time, a growing emphasis on the linkages between climate change and development issues has also been evident. Experts seeking solutions to longstanding development problems such as poverty, hunger, poor economic growth, persistent government debt, and health challenges have increasingly been factoring in environmental considerations as a means of securing development that is sustainable.
In this context, the linkages between climate change and development are becoming increasingly obvious. The countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are often among the world’s poorest and face the most entrenched development challenges. As these countries are more limited by economic, institutional, technological and other constraints, their ability to adapt to climate change is far less developed than industrialized countries. The connections between climate change adaptation and the development agenda has therefore emerged as an issue requiring further analysis, discussion and political momentum – a task that would clearly benefit from bringing together both the development and climate change communities.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
The Development and Adaptation Days event opened on Saturday morning, 11 December. Saleemul Huq, IIED, welcomed participants, noting that this was the third event of its kind, with previous meetings held during COP-8 and COP-9. He pointed out that, while earlier meetings had focused on adaptation in the context of climate change, this event would strengthen the development element and broaden input into the discussions by bringing in representatives of the development community. He also drew attention to the Working Group on Development and Climate Change consisting of 18 environment and development NGOs, and noted that the group has recently produced a report, Up In Smoke ().
Development Day included sessions on climate change and development, food security and disaster planning, and water and health. It concluded with a high-level panel discussion.
SESSION ONE—CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT: Andrew Simms, New Economics Foundation (NEF), chaired this session. He pointed out that the discussion around climate change and development is taking place in the context of a global economy that he described as being “particularly hostile to developing countries,” with asymmetries in the global trade system, a decline in aid levels, and a continuation of the debt crisis. On the issue of adaptation funding, he noted that in the OECD, additional annual construction costs for adaptation are estimated at between US$14 and $73 billion, compared with just US$410 million of proposed funding support for developing countries for adaptation. He added that $410 million is just one-third the amount spent annually in the US advertising sports utility vehicles.
Presentations: Jonathan Pershing, World Resources Institute (US), said governments are beginning to recognize the linkages between climate change and development. He introduced a new database () that provides the first consolidated source of information on all aspects of development, climate change, vulnerability and adaptive capacity, including emissions, social indicators, national circumstances, economic sectors, numbers of people living in vulnerable areas, health, water, literacy, and mortality. The intention of the database is to further develop an understanding of the linkage between national profiles and climate problems and solutions.
Emilio Lèbre La Rovere, Centro Clima (Brazil), drew attention to the lack of progress in implementing effective social policies. He cautioned against relying on “technocratic” approaches and urged the empowerment of social groups.
Jan Verhagen, Wageningen UR (Netherlands), said that agriculture is at the core of the poverty and development problem. He emphasized that adaptation is a must and funds need to be invested in, and channeled towards, agricultural communities to guarantee food security and protect the natural resource base.
Lorena Gamboa, Both Ends/FURARA (Ecuador), explained how her organization works on tropical forest conservation and biodiversity recovery in Ecuador by linking development, environmental sustainability and adaptation. She outlined a programme, “forestería análoga,” that seeks to restore biodiversity and original forest ecosystems by planting species that are the same as, or similar to, the original species. This programme strengthens local communities, sustains livelihoods, maintains forest cover, and provides carbon sequestration.
Cowan Coventry, Intermediate Technology Development Group (UK), emphasized that support for the poor to adapt to climate change is now an unavoidable and essential part of aid assistance. He outlined his organization’s work on reducing vulnerability, including support for greater livelihood security, resilience to cope with extreme weather, and conflict resolution. He said industrialized countries need to take responsibility for funding mitigation and adaptation, and called for new funding mechanisms to support initiatives for decentralized and sustainable local solutions.
Farhana Yamin, Institute of Development Studies (UK), asked how those not attending the COP could be helped to incorporate climate and development issues into their day-to-day work and acquire the necessary information and tool kits. She addressed the challenge of placing development and adaptation at the center of the intergovernmental process. She also highlighted the importance of understanding how procedural and institutional issues influence the way problems, including adaptation, are defined and thus influence the knowledge and actors engaged in the process.
Discussion: Chair Simms invited questions and comments from the floor. One participant expressed concern that adaptation activities will prove to be as ineffective as most development activities, and recommended challenging mainstream thinking and discarding old development structures. Another participant stressed the need to engage decision makers.
Participants also noted that adaptation is not always included in development aid, and one speaker suggested that development agencies often neglect to directly address adaptation issues. Several participants working in development aid agencies responded by indicating that adaptation may need to find new aid channels, and that in many cases government policies to promote sustainable agriculture may be more efficient than traditional aid programmes in providing the flexibility needed for adaptation. One speaker mentioned that development agencies are working on disaster management and risk reduction and that this has important links to adaptation priorities.
One participant noted the importance of adopting a pragmatic approach and understanding the priorities of development agencies that are often linked to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Another highlighted the need to raise awareness in local communities and grassroots organizations to sensitize them to the implications of climate change, as well as the need to incorporate adaptation into their strategies.
Responding to a question about the situation in Darfur, Cowan Coventry said ITDG has been working in northern Darfur for 13 years, but expressed concern that the proliferation of agencies operating in the area in the past two years would decline to just a handful of organizations after the current crisis. On a question about tapping into expertise offered by science and technology students, Cowan noted several initiatives, including Engineers Without Borders. He also expressed concern that mainstream development organizations still address climate change at the margins of their work.
Responding to comments about bridging the gap between science and adaptation practice, Emilio Lèbre La Rovere proposed that regulation and corporate social responsibility are essential elements at the macro-economic level. At the micro level, he advised against over-reliance on an adaptation fund and suggested integrating adaptation considerations at the design stage of CDM projects. Farhana Yamin introduced the new Linking Climate Adaptation Network, which provides an e-mail based discussion group (email:; Internet: ) that gives access to online resources and information, including the latest methodologies and tool kits being used to assess vulnerability and adaptation scenarios. Responding to comments on local best practice, Lorena Gamboa recommended the development of channels for learning from the experiences of local communities to help inform the intergovernmental process. Bringing the discussion to a close, Andrew Simms said the issue of adaptation funding was not about aid but about polluters paying the polluted.
SESSION TWO—FOOD SECURITY AND DISASTER PLANNING: Madeleen Helmer, Red Cross, chaired the session on food security and disaster planning.
Presentations: Noting that climate change places the spotlight on disaster risk reduction, Jessica Troni, Department for International Development, UK, emphasized the need to increase knowledge about adaptation, and particularly socioeconomic trends. She said Official Development Assistance (ODA) can catalyze enabling environments, but is insufficient to completely address the climate change problem in developing countries.
Sarder Shafiqul Alam, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, highlighted his country’s vulnerability to climate change and explained how his organization is working with local communities to reduce food shortages during flood seasons. He said they have succeeded in reducing vulnerability at the local and household level, using facilitative techniques and improved flood forecasting systems.
Louis Verchot, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), explained the importance of addressing food security and improving crop productivity in Africa. He commented that without efforts on adaptation, people in parts of Africa will suffer from serious calorie deficiencies in the near future. He also emphasized that the status quo is far from acceptable, and therefore action is necessary to improve the adaptive capacity and ability of farmers to adapt, not only to changes in climate, but to other economic, policy and social changes already affecting them.
Sarah La Trobe, Tearfund, outlined her organization’s experiences in disaster response and management. She expressed concerns about increased human and economic impacts resulting from disasters, and stressed the need for advocacy and tackling the root causes of poverty. She said risk reduction needs to be given a higher priority among donors. La Trobe highlighted obstacles faced by donor agencies in mainstreaming risk reduction, including a lack of knowledge and understanding within agencies, a lack of ownership due to divisional confusion over responsibilities, and a sense that risk reduction is competing with other issues such as HIV/AIDs and water.
Discussion: During the subsequent discussion, participants and panelists addressed issues relating to: the mobilization of governments’ political will by demonstrating the moral and practical reasons for investing in risk reduction; lessons learned by trade unions on the need for collective action and the transforming impact of risk reduction work on communities; and the impact of the September 11 attacks in the US on governments’ thinking about risk reduction and its potential impact on community-based strategies.
There were exchanges on the importance and limitations of local knowledge in the context of risk reduction, given the differences between natural disasters and climate change. One speaker observed that communities may lack a history of locally adapted knowledge and strategies for dealing effectively with climate change. The role of agricultural research and participatory methodologies was raised in the context of its growing contribution to adaptive capacity in local communities. The focus of the intergovernmental process on technology transfer was criticized by one speaker, who suggested that the real point is the creation of “sustainable landscapes.”
Participants also discussed the need for new means of communication using local networks, national-level policy changes to complement community-level efforts, and insurance schemes to guarantee a greater level of security for communities.
SESSION THREE—WATER AND HEALTH: On Saturday afternoon, participants took up the issue of water and health in a session chaired by Bettina Menne, World Health Organization.
Presentations: Kris Ebi, Exponent (USA), presented an integrated assessment model on health and population indices. She said that the levels of access to medicine, clean water and sanitation, and literacy rates play an overwhelming role in determining differences in life expectancy, and underscored the particular vulnerability of sub-Saharan Africa. She went on to explain how such studies can be used to analyze the likely impacts of climate change on life expectancy and health.
Faizal Parish, Global Environment Centre (Malaysia), presented his experience in working on forest fire prevention in South East Asia. He noted that one of the major impacts of climate change in this region is the increase in frequency of El Niño events, particularly in terms of droughts and forest fires that seriously affect the livelihoods of local communities. He explained how fire prevention strategies improve health and sustainability, highlighting the benefits of integrating forest fire prevention in social and development planning.
Ajaya Dixit, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation, outlined his organization’s involvement in community-based water and health programmes, which include a focus on gender mainstreaming and poverty alleviation. He emphasized the governance issues involved in such work, including questions on how to achieve a “balance of power” in weighing the demands and needs of different actors, and how to build capacity.
María Concepción Donoso, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, discussed the importance of placing integrated approaches to water and health issues on policy makers’ agendas for integrated water resource management and water governance. She described how health is often treated in isolation at the governance level and noted a lack of integration at the level of programme development.
Pavel Kabat, Climate Change Biosphere Centre (Netherlands), discussed climate variability and water, with a focus on Africa. He called for appropriate coping strategies and mechanisms, noting that climate change will exacerbate Africa’s “natural legacy” of extreme climate variability.
Discussion: Chair Menne summarized the key themes of the session. She encouraged participants to consider climate change’s place in the national security debate, the need for greater investments in infrastructure, and governance and the role of civil society and international agencies. One participant stressed the need to be strategic when raising adaptation concerns at multilateral climate change negotiations. Panelists and participants also discussed the role of the private sector in climate change adaptation, security issues arising from an influx of environmental refugees, and the need to transfer knowledge of climate change to other areas, including the health sector.
Chair Menne then commented on the role of climate change in the health debate and highlighted that this could be quantified by, for example, measuring the impact of malaria in areas where it would not have had an impact before climate change. Reflecting on the discussions, Faizal Parish said climate change can become a security threat due to risks of migrations, diseases and food insecurity. Maria Concepcion Donosa suggested that problems related to climate change will have to be solved in an integrated manner and that partitioning the problem would lead to “partitioned solutions.” Chair Menne highlighted the difficulties of raising awareness at global and local levels, and noted that severe weather occurrences such as the 2003 heatwave in Europe had helped to raise awareness.
AUDIO-VISUAL PRESENTATION: Following session three, participants heard from Pablo Suarez, Boston University, who presented a short audio-visual presentation on a community workshop on climate change adaptation organized in a small Argentine community affected by flooding in the Rio de la Plata flood plain. He indicated that he is exploring the role of awareness raising among local communities, and the value of audio-visual presentations in this regard, including in a cross-cultural context.
SESSION FOUR—HIGH LEVEL PANEL: John Drexhage, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), chaired the Development Day’s closing session.
Panel Presentations: Janos Pasztor, UNFCCC Secretariat, briefed participants on the UNFCCC’s sustainable development programme. He reported on various measures to put the provisions on sustainable development in the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol into practice, including the fund for least developed countries (LDCs), national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), and special climate change fund. He posed several key questions, including how the climate and development community can work together effectively, what the role of the UNFCCC might be in this regard, and whether all the key actors, including the private sector, are involved.
Addressing the adaptation-development nexus, Antonio Hill, Oxfam (UK), stressed that adaptation to climate change would require many of the same interventions and transformations already called for in the course of the development process. He said adaptation would take place within the context of global poverty and stressed the need for more effective governance and guarantees of social, economic and political rights. He argued that engaging development NGOs will require linking climate change adaptation to existing priorities in combating poverty. He urged that questions about the distinctiveness of climate change adaptation not deflect from the kind of work already being undertaken with communities, and warned that the development process is not particularly receptive to technical and bureaucratic solutions. He called for linkages between community-based interventions and larger strategies, including poverty reduction.
Imran Habib Ahmad, Member, UNFCCC Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT), suggested that the climate change regime needs to progress towards an operational phase and may evolve through two main tracks. On the governmental track, he said the process may continue evolving in the absence of the US, at least in the interim, with insufficient mitigation measures taken at the global level by the highest emitters. In this scenario, he stressed the need to prioritize and operationalize adaptation and technology transfer within the Convention. On the non-governmental track, he argued that there was space for open dialogue and cooperation, and said US-based and other civil society members need to be engaged in the process and play a major role in influencing businesses and national policies.
Joaquín Nieto Sainz, Sustainlabour Foundation (Spain), urged governments to address the social dimensions of sustainable development and incorporate justice and equity into all national policies. He noted that political will depends on an informed and active citizenry.
Richard Hosier, Global Environment Facility (GEF), discussed the need to “climate-proof” development. Highlighting energy efficiency projects as environmentally, socially and financially sustainable, he noted that renewable projects are more challenging due to their “weak” financial sustainability.
Chair Drexhage concluded by highlighting issues of energy access, electrification and quality of life. He also noted that land-use change is a significant source of carbon dioxide, much of which comes from developing countries. He suggested that this raises important mitigation and adaptation issues.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, participants raised questions regarding the GEF’s funding for adaptation. Richard Hosier noted that the GEF adaptation funding window had only officially started operating in May 2004. Although acknowledging the perception that the GEF sometimes appears to operate in “geological time,” he noted political and other reasons. He also noted that the GEF wanted to consider projects carefully to ensure they result in definite environmental and development benefits.
Responding to questions about why adaptation funding goes through the GEF given the GEF’s focus on projects that must bring global environmental benefits, Hosier agreed that the strategic pilot phase on adaptation that draws from the general fund needs to demonstrate global benefits; however, the special climate change fund and LDC fund do not.
A number of questions were raised about the prospects for financial support for peer-to-peer technology transfer, including indigenous technology, and access to funding for civil society organizations engaged in technology issues. Imran Habib Ahmad described elements of the EGTT’s work programme, including work started on innovative financing earlier in 2004. He indicated that some of the issues raised by participants were under active consideration for the EGTT’s 2005 work programme.
On communication and developing a common language, Pasztor suggested that participants direct awareness raising efforts at delegates to the COP. He added that the issues could also be conveyed through formal statements within the intergovernmental process and in a film for delegates at a future COP. He also noted that intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations have been invited by the SBI to outline their proposals for activities under UNFCCC Article 6 (information, training, and public awareness).
Adaptation Day included sessions on the science of adaptation, funding adaptation, and adaptation “in action.” It concluded with a high-level panel discussion.
SESSION ONE—THE SCIENCE OF ADAPTATION: This session was chaired by Osvaldo Canziani, IPCC, Co-Chair of Working Group II on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, on Sunday morning.
Ian Burton, Assessment of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change (AIACC), noted that AIACC had funded 26 projects and produced significant results and outputs. He highlighted a community vector breeding control programme in Jamaica as one example of a practical adaptation project undertaken by AIACC. Noting that the GEF’s funding for AIACC has almost run out, he underscored the need for new funding for supporting AIACC activities.
Explaining that adaptation research involves social science, Emma Tompkins, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (UK), stressed that “one-size-fits-all” methodologies are inappropriate for adaptation. Emily Boyd, Tyndall Center, outlined a project to develop an inventory of adaptation practices in the public and private sectors across regions of the UK. She summarized the preliminary findings of the project, including that adaptation is taking place but is not driven by climate change, and enhancing sustainable development policies at the national level is adequate for adaptation provided that the policies take into account climate change impacts. She also said the role of information dissemination through government networks is important.
Richard Klein, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany), presented a project on advanced ecosystem assessment and modeling that assesses the vulnerability of people who rely on ecosystem services, and their responses and adaptive capacity. He said the project has a digital output and shows the vulnerability of different sectors that use ecosystem services in Europe. He also explained that he is working on the development of a tool to address inter-vulnerability, studying the combined impact of climate change and globalization on communities and the dynamics between these stresses.
Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute (Sweden), observed that the world has already entered an era of dangerous climate change with an urgent need for investment in adaptation. He said the objective is now to prevent “catastrophic” impacts. Working from climate science’s view that the threshold for the onset of catastrophic impacts is a global temperature increase of less than two degrees Celsius, he set out the greenhouse gas concentration limits that must be avoided, assuming different levels of probability of exceeding the threshold. He said a precautionary approach that aims to preserve a 90% probability that catastrophic climate change is avoided would require that concentrations do not exceed approximately 367 parts per million (ppm), based on the current understanding of climate science. To achieve a 50% probability would require concentrations of 445 ppm. He concluded that a precautionary approach must be taken, involving a rigorous concentration target to reach a 400 GtC emissions trajectory. He stressed that if emissions continue to increase at current rates for the next twenty years, reductions will have to be even more dramatic.
Dieter Schoene, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, outlined a framework for adapting forests to climate change, pointing out that many of the trees planted today will experience the full impact of climate change in 50-350 years time. He presented a brief history of scientific approaches to adaptation and forestry management since the mid-19th century, citing the role of forestry and science in identifying the impacts of acid rain. Schoene presented a table to illustrate his framework, relating “state of nature” to “temperature” and “probabilities” to generate optimum decisions on species to be planted.
Sally Kane, National Science Foundation (NSF), argued for better linkages between applied research and “fundamental” research, firmer connections between “the climate world and what experts in the research labs are doing,” and strong social science research programmes.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed the feasibility of scaling-up adaptation projects and the challenges involved in moving from theory to practice. There was also discussion on the interaction between scientific and local indigenous knowledge, and the need to draw on the experience of practitioners and design decentralized systems that respond to local-level needs.
A participant noted that most adaptation projects are exogenously driven at the macro level and suggested that research should focus on bridging and blending those initiatives with local knowledge and experiences. Another participant asked for the panelists’ opinions on the “Copenhagen consensus,” in which leading economists prioritized urgent global problems and placed climate change last. Panelists replied that the study only considered economic efficiency when prioritizing solutions to global problems, did not analyze distributional or equity variables, and gave priority to issues that had less uncertainty and were amenable to readily available solutions. They also noted that climate change will impact all of the priorities identified by that group.
One participant highlighted the opportunities for adaptation to enter policy making at the national and international levels through disaster response strategies. Another said the research community should examine decision-making frameworks in developing countries because in those countries decisions may be guided by survival rather than efficiency criteria. Ian Burton stated that researchers need to focus on issues that are key to the UNFCCC negotiations on adaptation, such as adaptation baselines and insurance.
There were also exchanges on the effectiveness of the research community in influencing the intergovernmental process. Several speakers focused on the merits of social science approaches, and the need to focus on people, local knowledge and participation. There was a call for an honest acknowledgement of which decisions belong in the realm of science and which should be addressed in the realm of democracy and governance. Responding to a suggestion on an adaptation protocol, Chair Canziani recommended taking a cautious approach.
SESSION TWO—FUNDING ADAPTATION: This session, held on Sunday afternoon, was chaired by Jos Wheatley, Department for International Development (UK), who indicated that the session would include discussions on experiences and perspectives from various funders and agencies.
Presentations: Boni Biagini, GEF, noted apparent frustrations at the lack of progress on mitigation and adaptation, but added that she detected some noticeable advances on adaptation, particularly in recent years. In particular, she highlighted decisions at COP-7 in 2001 agreeing on the creation of an LDC fund, special climate change fund and adaptation fund. She pointed out that these funds do not apply the concept of incremental cost, and highlighted total funding pledges amounting to over US$100 million.
Ian Noble, World Bank, indicated that the Bank views adaptation as an important issue, and agreed with comments made by a COP-10 delegate that “mainstreaming cannot be projectized.” He noted that GEF funding would amount to about US$20-30 million annually over the next few years, which he said was a relatively small amount. Asserting that such funds should be used carefully and wisely, he highlighted the need to leverage further funding. He indicated that his goal was to eventually reduce adaptation funding to zero, because ultimately all projects should take climate change into account.
Loret Ruppe, US Agency for International Development (USAID), said USAID seeks to mainstream adaptation into development assistance activities by providing guidance for project managers on ways to incorporate adaptation concerns, and by undertaking pilot projects in agriculture, and coastal zone and water management.
Noting the limited resources available for adaptation, Brian Dawson, UNDP, raised the importance of prioritizing adaptation activities and using resources effectively. He stressed the need for country-driven activities and to move from assessment to implementation.
Liza Leclerc, UN Environment Programme, outlined her organization’s policy, science and implementation work on adaptation, including work on eco-services, poverty eradication and vulnerability, and support for countries to help them factor-in climate change in priorities negotiated in bilateral agreements with financial institutions.
Discussion: Chair Wheatley invited participants to raise issues for discussion with the panelists. Participants highlighted the special challenges facing developing countries and vulnerable groups in accessing funding for mainstreaming adaptation. They also asked panelists what was required in the intergovernmental process to press home the urgency of adaptation.
Panelists conceded that developing countries face a hugely complex task in demonstrating linkages between adaptation needs and climate change for funding purposes. However, they also pointed out that the NAPA process has helped to engage civil society and stakeholders, and called for a shift by donors from a focus on disaster relief to a preventive approach. On raising the profile of adaptation in the intergovernmental negotiations, panelists noted the urgency of immediate needs and factoring these into existing ODA budgets and national plans, and the need to find ways to discuss adaptation without the suspicion that accompanies much of the intergovernmental negotiations. Panelists also underlined the importance of “climate-proofing” development planning. Reflecting on the discussions, Chair Wheatley noted observations on: the need for planning instruments in both developing and developed countries; acknowledgement of the extreme difficulty of channeling funding to the most vulnerable; the importance of linking adaptation to other intergovernmental processes; and the need to overcome resistance from those who refuse to address climate change within their given election or budget cycles.
A participant noted the links between adaptation and the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR). Another participant noted that LDCs are being required to spend considerable time preparing their NAPAs instead of being able to access funds to address problems immediately. One participant recommended that international donor agencies proactively integrate adaptation into existing water management, poverty reduction and other development strategies without requiring new strategies like NAPAs. Another participant asked whether it was possible to engage lending agencies, such as regional development banks, into funding projects on adaptation.
Ian Noble said it was necessary to make project managers and recipient countries more aware of climate change. Brian Dawson said that ensuring that money reaches the most vulnerable and marginalized people is always complex. Highlighting that banks are also accountable to their donors, he stated that criteria to enhance access to funds must be balanced with the need to sustain donor support. Chair Wheatley highlighted the importance of including adaptation in the main body of development projects. On the engagement of development banks, the panelists noted that recipient countries usually prefer to address adaptation using grants rather than loans.
SESSION THREE—ADAPTATION IN ACTION: This session was chaired by Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, who began by stating that “mitigation is the best form of adaptation” if we are to avoid a situation where ecosystems are so damaged that adaptation will be extremely difficult and costly. He noted progress on the adaptation agenda within the UNFCCC process, and stressed that adaptation actions will occur primarily at the community level.
Stanley James, Arctic Athabaskan Council (Canada), drew attention to changes in the areas near the Arctic, including the Northwest Territories, Alaska, and Yukon Territory. He said these included forest fires, flooding, and seasonal changes such as lakes freezing in January rather than December. He explained that such changes have serious impacts on indigenous people’s way of life and livelihoods, as well as on animals and plants. Pointing out that his people have lived in harmony with the environment for centuries, he said scientists and decision makers need to consult with indigenous communities about what is happening to their ecosystems.
Emphasizing that addressing adaptation is both a learning process and a social process, Brett Orlando, IUCN-World Conservation Union, outlined IUCN’s efforts in mainstreaming climate change into its operations. He urged scientists to improve estimates of the cost of adapting to climate change, including the value of ecosystem services.
Noting that LDCs have the least capacity to adapt, Balgis Osman Elasha, Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources (Sudan), said adaptation requires a change in attitudes and behavior. She called for a bottom-up approach to adaptation that integrates local knowledge and is action-oriented.
Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, Centre for Water and Environment, outlined a Canadian International Development Agency-funded project on reducing vulnerability to climate change in southwestern Bangladesh. The project was designed to increase community and household capacity for adaptation, by assessing vulnerability through the eyes of the vulnerable. He outlined a number of the strategic solutions identified, including: the development of alternative livelihoods to address food security; increased access to non-saline water; the introduction of storm-resistant housing; enhanced biophysical resources to improve asset quality; and advocacy activity, including a campaign to have the government address access to non-saline water in the national water planning process.
Samrat Sengupta, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) (India), explained the work of his organization in developing participatory mechanisms with stakeholders to include adaptation in development plans and “climate-proofing” development. He said they found that even communities with no relevant education or capacity related to climate change are aware of changes in the climate, their vulnerability and the urgency of the matter.
Valentín Bartra, Alfonso De La Torre law firm (Peru), highlighted the issues of social justice linked with adaptation. He said that even if adaptation is ingrained in different cultures, building adaptive capacity and creating risk management networks is key. He also mentioned that issues related to adaptation in the MDGs will help to ensure adaptation is included in the political agenda.
Phil O’Keefe, ETC Foundation (Netherlands), stated that climate change is not a driving force for decision making in governments, and noted insufficient engagement with civil society. He asserted that the adaptation challenge is “to socially construct nature bearing in mind that in the past we’ve done this in a negative way.” He urged further discussion on the private sector’s role in adaptation, and said another adaptation event should take place during the COP in 2005. He also suggested that it was time to “take the fight to the WTO”.
Discussion: Responding to a comment about the challenge of bringing complex climate change science to local communities, Chair Rahman noted many successful examples of community participation and involvement. Brett Orlando cited an example in Tanzania of cooperative work with government and local communities that showed that local people were aware of climatic changes in their areas. Uddin Ahmed said it is not necessary to inform local people about complex IPCC scenarios, only to put their situation in context. Stanley James said experts should be talking to local communities, not just governments. One participant noted how climate change knowledge, such as weather warnings, can benefit communities. Phil O’Keefe expressed concern that the September 11th attacks have resulted in a stronger command and control approach, at the expense of local community participation.
SESSION FOUR—HIGH LEVEL PANEL: The closing session of the Development and Adaptation Days event was held on Sunday evening and chaired by IIED’s Saleemul Huq. He highlighted that recognition of the issue of adaptation had increased in recent years, both in the intergovernmental climate change process and in the parallel side events, but lamented that a useful mechanism had not yet been found to move the issue forward.
Panel Presentations: Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC, underscored that integrating adaptation into sustainable development is the only way forward. He stressed the need to identify immediate priorities, and prepare for the longer term.
Carlos Corvalán, World Health Organization, raised three questions: are decision makers being told what they need to know to take appropriate actions; is the adaptation community providing appropriate information in clear messages, acknowledging uncertainty yet proposing a reasonable precautionary approach; and is everything possible being done? In response to his first question, Corvalan observed that there are no clear answers on what decision makers are expected to do. On the second, he said health workers are familiar with acting under uncertainty, and highlighted cooperation between relevant UN bodies to create information for the health sector. On the third question, he called for prioritization of what can be reasonably achieved.
Marc Debois, European Commission, commented on the importance adaptation is gaining in the development cooperation field. He highlighted that the EU has adopted a climate change action plan in the context of development cooperation that will be launched at COP-10 on Tuesday, 14 December. Drawing attention to the linkages between adaptation, poverty reduction, the MDGs and sustainable development goals, he said mainstreaming and the commitment by policy makers should be improved.
Liana Bratasida, Assistant Minister for Global Environmental Affairs (Indonesia), said adaptation issues are complex and there is a need to compile a good set of examples showing how communities adapt to climate change, identify common challenges and translate them into good practice guidelines on adaptation. She highlighted the need to provide for continuous dialogue among policy makers to improve understanding of the various constraints to effective adaptation.
Burnhani Nyenzi, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), outlined the WMO’s work on weather and climate observation, on support for national and regional work on adaptation, and on early warning and disaster prevention. He described climate change as an integral part of the development process, although some governments still refuse to take the issue seriously.
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri called for enormous efforts to sensitize decision makers and create a body of knowledge as a basis for their decisions and actions. He expressed the hope that the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report would become known for the advances it achieved in knowledge and assessment on impacts and adaptation. He cited four important areas to be addressed in the Report: the need for a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, given, for example, the need for substantial investment in macro-level initiatives; the need for social science research inputs on impacts and adaptation, following on from geophysics work, including work on gender issues, social cohesion and economics; attention to under-researched areas such as health and biodiversity, notably site- and location-specific work on wildlife; and technology issues where there is a natural linkage with mitigation actions, including, for example, decentralized access to desalination technologies. He ended with a plea to the adaptation community to document their work on the ground to help create a large body of literature and assist the work of the IPCC.
Chair Huq welcomed the strong guidance issued by Pachauri to the lead authors for the Fourth Assessment Report, noting past criticism that the IPCC had failed to capture indigenous knowledge and others sources of information. He urged the adaptation and development community to relay their findings to the Report’s lead authors.
Farhana Yamin, IDS, reflected on the discussions during the last two days, noting consideration of how to share information from the existing body of formal knowledge as well as the informal body of community-based knowledge. She drew attention to the new Linking Climate Adaptation Network as a useful source of online resources and information on adaptation.
Discussion: Participants made final remarks on this event, with several observing that it had been extremely useful as a forum for discussion. One applauded the emphasis on awareness raising, and recommended the use of all communication tools. Another emphasized that the climate change adaptation community should work with the disaster reduction community.
Responding to a comment that discussions should have focused on areas that fall directly under the UNFCCC, Chair Huq explained that this event was not intended to lobby the UNFCCC process but to provide a forum for sharing ideas, analysis and networking.
On the need to raise awareness of climate change and adaptation, one participant suggested introducing these topics to the formal education system, and another participant raised the need to train policy makers.
In his closing remarks, Thorgeirsson stressed the need for strategic approaches and targeted information and urged participants to interact with policy makers in their countries. Pachauri stated that, while it is important to focus on adaptation, one must not lose sight of other climate change issues. Debois agreed that education is an important tool to raise awareness. Yamin urged moving away from the politics of blame and division and towards solidarity and action, and recommended learning from other mainstreaming experiences, such as gender mainstreaming. Nyenzi stressed the importance of trust. Thanking participants for their hard work, Chair Huq brought the meeting to a close at 7:00 pm.
LAUNCH OF THE EU ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE CONTEXT OF DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION: The launch of this EU action plan will take place during COP-10 in Buenos Aires at the EU Pavilion from 1:00-3:00 pm on Tuesday, 14 December. For more information, contact: Marc Debois, European Commission; e-mail:
INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON COMMUNITY LEVEL ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: This workshop will take place from 16-18 January 2005, at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is being organized by IIED, IUCN-World Conservation Union, the Regional and International Networking Group (RING), and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), and sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency. The event will focus on emerging issues in community adaptation, including international institutions and funding mechanisms, the effects of climate change on different sectors, the linking of climate change adaptation to other development priorities, mainstreaming adaptation, and stakeholder engagement. For more information, contact: Workshop Secretariat, BCAS; tel: +880-2-885-1237; fax: +880-2-885-1417; e-mail:; Internet:
WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER REDUCTION: This international conference is taking place from 18-22 January 2005, in Kobe-Hyogo, Japan. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Secretariat, in collaboration with partner organizations, is currently engaged in the ten-year review of disaster reduction activities since the first World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, which took place in Yokohama, Japan in 1994. The overall objective of the upcoming conference is to increase the commitment for implementation of disaster risk reduction at all levels and in particular its integration into development planning processes. For more information, contact: Helena Molin Valdes, ISDR; tel: +41-22-917-2776; fax: +41-22-917-0563; e-mail:; Internet:
FIFTH GLOBAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY (GFSE):
GFSE-5 will be held from 11-13 May 2005, in Vienna, Austria. The meeting
will focus on biomass and steps to enhance international cooperation.
For more information, contact: Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, Austrian
Ministry for Foreign Affairs; tel: +43-5-01150-4486; fax:
ELEVENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC (COP-11): UNFCCC COP-11 will take place in 2005 at a date and location to be determined during COP-10 in Buenos Aires. With the Kyoto Protocol due to enter into force in February 2005, COP-11 is expected to occur alongside the first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; email:; Internet:
CONFERENCE ON ENGINEERING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Scheduled to take place from 9-12 May 2006, in Ottawa, Canada, this conference is being organized by the Engineering Institute of Canada and other Canadian groups to consider climate change in the context of engineering and technological responses. For more information, contact: John Plant, Engineering Institute of Canada; tel: +1-613-547-5989; fax: +1-613-547-0195; e-mail:; Internet: